The SAT has gone through various changes throughout the years

November 22, 2022

The SAT wasn’t always the mind-numbing, stressful and extensive test it is now. The Scholarship Aptitude Test was first introduced in 1926 and functioned as a reliable predictor of a student’s college performance. Over the course of its ninety-six years of existence, the test has undergone various adjustments and modifications making it more challenging and competitive. In the past twenty to thirty years, many changes have been made to the SAT. Some of these modifications aimed to prevent cheating whereas others were designed to encourage high school curricula to emphasize particular subjects. 

In 2005, the SAT arguably faced its most significant change yet. Not only were its analogy questions removed, but the maximum score went from 1600 points to 2400 points. These 800 points were added to the writing, reading and math sections. A required essay was included as well with the purpose of prioritizing writing across the United States. All of these changes created a total test time of 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

As of March 2016, the score range reverted back to the original 1600 points, the essay requirement was removed and points were no longer taken off for wrong answers. Prior to this change, a “guessing penalty” existed that subtracted ¼ of a point per incorrect answer. Other minor changes included swapping out unnecessary vocabulary words for more commonly used words and dropping the amount of multiple-choice question solution options from five to four per question. 

Recently, students have been offered the opportunity to take the SAT digitally through a computer at an administered test center. Changes come with the digital test as well. Instead of the three hours, students will be given two hours to take the test; each section will be slightly shorter than the original SAT. Also, according to the College Board, the reading section will consist of one-question reading passages that cover a wider range of topics typical of the literature students will read in college. 

While specific elements of the SAT have changed, the way the SAT is perceived has changed as well. Years ago, a student that scored 1500 out of 1600 would be meritorious and potentially newsworthy. Yet today, scoring 1500 is recognized as an impressive but somewhat common score. The standards of what a “good” SAT score is has risen every year.

Because many students were unable to take the SAT due to COVID-19 regulations and lockdowns, many colleges made submitting scores optional. Since then, there’s been a growing number of colleges that don’t require an applicant to submit their SAT score. Another reason universities are beginning to make the SAT unrequired is to balance out students with economic or racial grievances.

Since its creation in 1926, the SAT has been a reliable indicator for students of what their college performance may look like and which colleges they deserved to attend. For nearly 100 years, numerous modifications have been made to keep the tests timely and efficient. From its changes in scoring to its test-optional initiatives, it’s difficult to predict what this test will look like in upcoming years.

Leave a Comment

Eastside • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All Eastside Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *